Facebook have acquired California-based game developer Sanzaru Games, adding them to their first party Oculus Studios following the launch of Oculus Rift exclusive game Asgard’s Wrath in 2019.
PlayStation 3 owners might best remember Sanzary Games for their remaster The Sly Collection and platformer sequel Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, but since 2013 they’ve worked on a variety of different projects. It was 2016 where they sparked a partnership with Oculus, working on Ripcoil and VR Sports Challenge in the platform’s first year, Marvel Powers United VR in 2018 and then the Norse mythology RPG battler Asgard’s Wrath.
The acquisition cements that relationship and means Sanzaru won’t have to take on work for hire projects like their work on Spyro 3 for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. They can just knuckle down on VR gaming.
That said, there’s no word on what they might be working on next. The announcement blog states that “Asgard’s Wrath was a great success and we’ve learned a lot from its development and launch, but we have nothing to announce about future projects at this time.” And they can’t even say if their future projects will continue to focus on the PC-based Oculus Rift or if they’ll accommodate the mobile hardware of the standalone Oculus Quest.
What this means for Facebook and Oculus as a whole is also interesting, as this could be a first step in growing Oculus Studios and securing first party development for the platform. Several studios have partnered with Oculus for VR games exclusive to the platform, such as Insomniac Games’ Edge of Nowhere and Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, but since those deals were struck, both formerly independent developers have been acquired by Sony and EA respectively.
The future of Oculus as a gaming platform will depend in part on ensuring that there’s a steady stream of great games for it, and Facebook will certainly be looking to make sure they can deliver more exclusive games going forward. In other words, watch this space for more developer acquisitions.